17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash



Spending time outdoors with your family has its benefits such as enjoying fresh air, sunshine…… etc. But sometimes, it exposes you to certain uncomfortable situations such coming into contact with poison ivy. Poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac are green plants that will make your skin itch like crazy. The culprit is the colorless oil called urushiol. You can find this oil in all parts of the plants — the leaves, stems and even the roots.

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash
Poison Ivy Plant

Poison ivy can grow just about anywhere such as fields, woods, along riverbeds and roads. If you are allergic to one of these plants, you will be allergic to all of them. If you cut, crush, grab or disturb these plant in any way, you will trigger the release of this toxic oil.



When the oil from poison ivy touches the skin, most people (about 85 percent) develop an itchy, blistering rash says the American Academy of Dermatology. Although the rash itself is not contagious, the oil can spread to other areas of the body and from one person to another if not quickly washed off after touching the plants.

Within minutes of contact with urushiol, the skin starts to absorb it. But you don’t feel this. And you don’t see a rash right way. The itchy, blistering rash often start to appear from about 12 to 72 hours. They mostly appear on the face, arms, hands, legs, and genitals but can affect other body parts. Generally, poison ivy will go away on its own.

Poison ivy needs to be avoided but accidents happen and sometimes exposure can’t be prevented. Luckily, most reactions to poison ivy aren’t severe and can be treated at home. That being said, there are many home remedies to help ease the discomfort.

17 Soothing Home Remedies To Get Rid Of A Poison Ivy Rash

Get relief from the rash without resorting to drugstore treatments with these natural poison ivy treatments.

1. Wash The Affected Area With Water

As soon as you come into contact with poison ivy, run for the shower or the nearest creek, if you’re hiking and wash away the oil before the allergic reaction takes hold. Once you come into contact with poison ivy, the clock starts ticking. Run water over the area for 10 – 15 minutes to flush as many toxins away as possible. 

Avoid using hot or warm water as they open the affected skin pores which allow toxins to go inside. Scrub your hands with soap and water and skip using washcloth, since it can spread the oil around your body. Use a toothbrush to clean under your fingernails and throw it away after scrubbing.

If it’s impossible to wash right away, clean your skin with rubbing alcohol to dissolve the urushiol. But, if none is handy, you can use any product (or beverage) that contains alcohol.

2. Baking Soda For Poison Ivy Rash

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash

Baking soda is alkaline and also has pH neutralizing properties. It helps restore the pH of your blistered skin and also promotes healing of the rashes caused by poison ivy. Baking soda also provides a soothing effect, curing pain and inflammation. It also has the ability to draw fluid from blisters, drying them completely.

How to Use

  • Mix 3 parts of baking soda with 1 part of water to make a paste.
  • Apply to the affected area.
  • Leave until completely dry and wipe away.
  • Repeat 3 – 4 times daily for best results.
  • Note: Alternately add 1 cup of baking soda to cold bath water to treat large areas.

Or

  • Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with two glasses of water.
  • Soak a few gauze pads in this solution.
  • Place them over the rashes and leave them on for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Remove the gauze pads and wash the remnants off your skin.
  • Repeat 4 times daily for best results.
  • Note: Don’t apply near the eye because it causes blurred vision.

Or

  • Mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda and vinegar to make a paste.
  • Scrub the affected area with the paste while showering.
  • Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a towel.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar on all over the scrubbed – cleansed blisters.
  • You may feel burning sensation but within few minutes you will get relief from itching.
  • Repeat regularly for best results.

3. Use Milk to Shake the Itch

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash

A cold milk compress is good, especially if you have a poison ivy rash on your face. The cold stops the itch, while the fat lubricates the skin.

How to Use

  • Take a clean rag and soak it in whole milk. You need whole milk because of the fat.
  • Place the damp rag — damp, not runny — on the rash.
  • Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse off the milk with warm water.
  • Repeat regularly until you get best results.

4. Vinegar

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash

A vinegar compress is good for drying the poison ivy rash and soothing the itching. Vinegar is also acidic which prevents poison ivy rash from spreading to other parts of the body.

How to Use

  • Mix half cup of vinegar with half cup of water.
  • Put it in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 hours because it works best when cold.
  • Dampen either a cloth, cotton balls or gauze with the cold vinegar solution and apply it to the poison ivy rash.
  • Leave it for 2 – 5 minutes and wash.
  • Repeat daily until you get relief.

5. Witch Hazel For Poison Ivy Rash

Made from the bark of the witch hazel tree, this astringent splash relieves the itch of poison ivy and tightens skin. The cooling effect will not only get rid of the rash but it will calm it down.

How to Use

  • Mix a teaspoon of witch hazel with a tablespoon of a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
  • Apply this to the rash.
  • Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off with water.
  • Repeat every other day until you get relief.

6. Turmeric

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash

This spice has great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. This when combined with lemon juice heals poison ivy rashes.

How to Use

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric and lemon juice to make a paste.
  • Apply to the affected areas.
  • Leave for 15 – 20 minutes and rinse with water cool water.
  • Repeat 1 – 2 times daily until rash disappears.

7. Neem Oil For Poison Ivy Rash

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash

Neem oil is another option that you can consider for getting rid of a poison ivy rash at the earliest. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in relieving the itching, inflammation, and redness. Neem oil also possesses antiseptic properties that protect the rash from infection.

How to Use

  • Apply a teaspoon of neem oil to the affected area and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Wash it off with water.
  • Repeat 1 to 2 times daily for a week.
  • Note: If you have sensitive skin, mix neem oil with a carrier oil of your choice before applying it.

8. Jewelweed

Jewelweed has a watery stem that contains juice good for stopping the itch and inflammation. It also contains saponins that help in drying the liquid-filled blisters. You can collect it in meadows especially during late summer. However, jewelweed ice cubes are great against an itch because of the combination of the jewelweed and the cold. After coming into contact with poison ivy, just crush the stems in your hands and rub the juice right on the rash or follow the process below;

How to Use



  • Chop and boil a handful of jewelweed leaves in 2 glasses of water.
  • Boil them until the liquid turns a dark orange color.
  • Strain and pour the liquid into an ice cube tray and freeze.
  • When frozen, wrap in a cloth and apply to the affected area.
  • Leave on for few minutes.
  • Repeat regularly to get rid of poison ivy.

9. Peppermint Essential Oil

17 Soothing Home Remedies For A Poison Ivy Rash

Peppermint oil contains menthol which relieves painful burning and itching associated with rashes.

How to Use

  • Add peppermint oil to cold water.
  • Soak a towel in the water.
  • Apply to the affected areas.
  • Leave for 1 – 2 hours.
  • Repeat regularly for best results.

Or

  • Add 3 – 4 drops of peppermint oil to a tablespoon of any carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
  • Mix well and apply it to the affected area.
  • Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash it off with water.
  • Do this 2 times daily until you get relief.

10. Potato For Poison Ivy Rash

Potato contains excellent anti-inflammatory properties which soothes the skin.

How to Use

  • Rinse and blend one potato with water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply to the affected area and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
  • Leave for 30 – 60 minutes and rinse with cold water.
  • Repeat regularly to get relief.

11. Lemon Juice

The acidic nature of lemon juice can help neutralize the pH of your blistered skin, thereby helping it to dry faster. Lemon is also a rich source of vitamin C, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in reducing the itching, inflammation and swelling.

How to Use

  • Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a tablespoon of a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
  • Apply this to the rash.
  • Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off with water.
  • You can do this once every alternate day for a week or two.

12. Banana Peel For Poison Ivy Rash

Banana peel contains minerals, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. They help in soothing the itching and inflammation that accompany a poison ivy rash and protect your skin from further infection

How to Use

  • Rub inside part of banana peel on the affected area.
  • You will get relief from itching and irritation within 2 – 3 hours.
  • Repeat regularly.
  • Or cut the peel into pieces and place inside part on the rash.
  • Leave on 20 to 30 minutes with the help of adhesive tape and then remove.
  • Repeat daily.
  • Note: Watermelon rinds also have the same effect as a banana peel. Its juice dries out blisters.

13. Oatmeal

Oatmeal possesses antioxidant, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps get relief from the pain, itchiness and discomfort. It also contains saponins, a natural cleanser that absorbs oil, dirt, and odor. Oatmeal also has the ability to balance the pH levels of the skin thereby relieving the itching and dry skin.

How to Use

  • Pour a cup of colloidal oatmeal in a cheesecloth.
  • Place this in a nylon or pantyhose and knot it.
  • Place the bag in lukewarm bath water.
  • Soak in the water for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with water and pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Repeat 2 – 3 times daily for best results.

Or

  • Combine 3 cups of powdered oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of salt and lukewarm water to make a paste.
  • Apply to the affected area.
  • Leave on to dry and wipe away.
  • Repeat 2 – 3 times daily.

14. Tea Tree Oil

Derived from the Australian tea tree, this oil soothes the itch of poison ivy. Tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce redness and swelling. It also prevents infection in the affected areas due to its antimicrobial properties. Moreover, it also promotes faster healing of the rashes.

How to Use

  • Add 2 – 3 drops of tea tree oil to any carrier oil such as jojoba or olive oil and mix well.
  • Apply this mixture to the affected areas.
  • Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then take a bath.
  • Repeat 1 – 2 times daily for a few days.

15. Aloe Vera

The slippery inner part of the succulent aloe vera will help to relieve itching skin and will also speed recovery from poison ivy. Compounds in aloe help to accelerate wound healing. Aloe vera also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help with poison ivy symptoms.

How to Use

  • Use a knife to cut the edges of an aloe vera leaf to extract its gel.
  • Apply to the affected area and leave until dry.
  • Repeat 2 – 3 times daily for best results.
  • You can also buy aloe vera gel from the store.

16. Cucumber

It’s not exactly a day at the spa, but using cucumber slices is a simple poison ivy treatment. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it great for poison ivy as well. This helps reduces the itchiness and heal the rash.

How to Use

  • Cut a fresh cucumber into slices and chill in the refrigerator.
  • Remove and gently rub the cucumber slices over the affected area.
  • Leave on for 15 – 20 minutes and remove.
  • Repeat 3 – 4 times daily for best results.
  • Note: You can also mash up a fresh cucumber to make a cucumber “paste”and apply to the rash.

17. Cold Compress

Apply cold compresses whenever the rash acts up, to tame the itchiness and prevent you from scratching. Cold or ice compresses are the best way to treat rashes, but remember to not place ice directly on the skin. 

How to Use

  • Wrap the ice in clean cloth and place on the affected area for 15 minutes every hour. 
  • After 15 minutes remove and let it air dry. Do not rub the area with towel or cloth.
  • Alternatively, you can also use frozen vegetables or cotton balls dipped in cold water.

Tips To Prevent Poison Ivy

  • Be sure to know what poison ivy, oak and sumac looks like so that you can avoid it.
  • Never burn poison ivy as this will spread the allergens in the air.
  • Clean your pets thoroughly to prevent poison ivy contamination.
  • Avoid touching the affected area with your bare hands. If you do touch it, immediately wash your hands.
  • Apply a barrier cream whenever there is a risk of coming in contact with poison ivy.

Other than being aware of the appearance of poison ivy and knowing to watch out for it, you can protect yourself while hiking by wearing secure, closed-toe shoes, tall socks, pants tucked into socks and long-sleeved shirts.

Consult your doctor if suffering from;

  • severe blistering,
  • swelling,
  • redness,
  • shortness of breath,
  • if you have inhaled any smoke of burning poison ivy plant,
  • if the rash spreads to your eyes, nose, throat, mouth, or genitals for immediate medications and treatment.

Have you ever had a poison ivy rash? Have you tried any of these methods? Any other natural remedies you’ve found useful? Share your experience with us! Share this post for a friend who may need natural remedies for poison ivy!



About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At felclinic.com we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

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